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soul; calm, serene, bright, the promise of a future, peaceful, and delightful day.
II. I shall now briefly mention some of the benefits of conteniment.
1. This disposition of mind secures to us the favour of God.
The preceding observations make it evident, that contentment is, in an extensive sense, obedience to the divine will. It is also directly and repeatedly commanded in the Scriptures. To Timothy St. Paul writes, · Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.' To the Hebrews he says, universally, · Be content with such things as ye have.' This injunction he also enforces by the best of all reasons : viz. that. God bath said, I will never leave thee, por forsake thee.' That God is pleased with obedience to his commands, needs no illustration. Equally unnecessary, would be an attempt to show that a state of mind, formed, as contentment obviously is, chiefly of faith, submission, humility, gratitude, and selfgovernment, must be obedience eminently acceptable. But him whom God approves, he will bless. The promise of the divine favour to such as cordially obey the divine will are spread everywhere throughout the Scriptures, and not one of them will fail of being accomplished. But the favour of God is the sum of all benefits, and the source whence every other proceeds. Contentment begins with a hope of the divine favour; and, as a continued course of obedience to the commands of God, originates unceasingly new hopes, and makes sure of new communications of the same invaluable blessing.
2. Contentment enables him who possesses it to perform his duty with more exactness and more pleasure than he can olherwise attain.
The contented mind is unincumbered by many cares and many hindrances which usually obstruct and retard men in the performance of their duty. The serenity of its disposition leaves it at full leisure calmly to examine, and therefore clearly to understand, and thoroughly to feel, the nature, directions, and amount of its duty. Satisfied with the divine dispensations, and assured of the approbation of him whose dispensations they are, it is prepared beforehand to accord with their tenour, and to perform whatever they may require. In this case, its obedience obviously becomes easy, cheerful, and of course delightful, as well as uniform and exact. It is the punctilious and cheerful obedience of a child, compared with which the occasional and reluctant performance of a discontented man, are merely the mercenary drudgery of an unfaithful servant. But to perform our duty with pleasure, is to lead a life of enjoyment; for our duty returns every moment of our lives. To perform our duty also with exactness, is not only delightful in itself, but is a continual source of selfapprobation and peace; and the only source whence these blessings can be derived.
3. The man in whom this spirit prevails is secured from many temptations and many sins to which others are exposed.
A discontented man naturally indulges, and is always liable to the sin of murmuring against God, arraigning his justice, wisdom, and goodness, and hardening his heart against bis mercy ; because he is impatient under his own allotments, and unwilling to accord with any proposals from a Being whose character he disrelishes, and whose conduct he regards as the source of bis troubles. The envious man is prompted by his ruling disposition to repine at the blessings of others, to accuse God of partiality in bestowing them, to wish them lessened, to resort not unfrequently to active, insidious, and malignant exertions for the purpose of lessening them, and to exercise a kind of infernal joy when they are taken away. Such a man turns a gloomy, misanthropic eye on all those who he thinks are richer, greater, wiser, or happier than himself. From these rebellious and fiend-like dispositions, from the temptations which they create, and the sins to which they lead, the contented mind is delightfully free. Satisfied with its own lot, it feels no anxiety, mortification, or opposition to its Maker, because others are possessed of superior good. Particularly, it is undisturbed by the sight of superior wealth in the possession of others; of superior power, pleasures, reputation, and influence. On all these splendours it can look, as the eagle on the sun, with a steady and serene eye; and can find its happiness not lessened, but increased, because others are happy. The disposal, both of its own concerns and theirs, it is willing to leave wholly to God; and prepared to enjoy any good which he is pleased to bestow, whoever may be the recipient. Thus,
4. It is a disposition eminently peaceful and comfortable.
On the one hand, it is preserved from many troubles, suffered by others; and on the other, finds many pleasures, which others never know. The distress experienced in an unceasing course of disappointments, by all discontented, covetous, and ambitious men, is chiefly unknown to him, who has acquired this delightful spirit. Equally free is he also from the pain of ungratified desires, and from continual fears that his desires will be ungratified. Nor is he less secure from that complication of woe, which springs incessantly from distrust of the goodness and faithfulness of God, from murmuring against his providence, from reluctance to obey his pleasure, and from the consciousness of not having faithfully obeyed at all. At the same time, he is delivered from those fears of future woe which so often harass the minds of guilty men.
It is not here intended to insinuate, that the contented man is free from afflictions ; but that he is comparatively free from them is unquestionable. Contentment will not remove the thorns and briars spread over this unhappy world by the apostasy, and renew upon its face the bloom, the beauty, and the fragrance of Eden. But it will blunt the point of many a thorn, and convert many a wilderness into a fruitful field. The sorrows which it feels will be all allayed by the remembrance, that they come from the hand of the infinitely Good; and by the hope, that they will all terminate in the promotion of its own best interests. To the blast of calamity also it yields, like the willow; and is therefore not rooted up and destroyed. In the mean time, whenever troubles arrive, however numerous or great they may be, their distressing efficacy is always allayed by the soothing, balmy influence of peace and self-approbation.
This delightful influence also is regularly diffused over every enjoyment. The enjoyments of the contented man are in his view all gifts and blessings; not acquisitions, made by bis own ingenuity and efforts. As gifts, they are relished with gratitude to their glorious Author. The light in which they are seen by this grateful disposition is always glossy and brilliant, and the taste which they furnish is singularly sweet. Thus the contented man finds pleasures, where others find only troubles. Thus, when troubles arrest him, their bitterness
CHARGE THEM THAT ARE RICH IN THIS WORLD-THAT THEY DO
GOOD, THAT THEY BE RICH IN GOOD WORKS, READY TO DIS-
1 TIMOTHY VI. 17--- 19.
THERE are, as I have heretofore observed, two attributes of
In examining it, I propose briefly to point out,
I. I will endeavour lo explain the nature of this duty.
It has been already mentioned as a general definition of charity, as an attribute of the human mind, that it is a disposition cheerfully to impart our property and our kind offiees to the poor and suffering. But we are not to suppose that every cheerful communication of these benefits to persons of this description merits the name of charity in the evangelical sense.
Persons often aid the suffering merely from ostentation. These will not be suspected of charity.
Others do the same thing merely to free themselves from the importunate applications of those, by whom it is solicited. This will not be mistaken for charity.
Some, and those not a few, impart their property to the distressed, because they place little value upon property. Neither will this be soberly considered as charitable conduct.
Some perform charitable acts to free themselves from those reproaches of conscience, which they are assured will follow the refusal of such acts.
Multitudes perform offices of this nature from the hope of acquiring the esteem of others, and the various benefits which it is expected to confer.
Other multitudes extend relief to sufferers from a native spirit of generosity. This is amiable ; but is not even an intentional performance of any duty, and can therefore possess no evangelical character.
Others still do the same things, under the influence of constitutional compassion, or native tenderness. This also is amiable; but for the same reason does not partake of an evangelical nature.
Soine perform actions of this class because they have been taught and babituated in early life to perform them as a duty. Though they merit and obtain the esteem of those around them, yet they never with the heart, or in the evangelical sense, perform any duty.
Others do works of this nature, because they have been accustomed to commend them highly, and are thus compelled to charitable exertions, for the sake of maintaining consistency of character.
Finally: Not a small number pursue a charitable course of life, because they thiuk actious of this nature the sum and sub